30.11.2017 - Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI) is a Samoan NGO that’s become known beyond Samoa for its high-quality goods. Founded in 1991 following two devastating cyclones, its aims were to empower women to supplement their families’ incomes by growing food for market.
Now, they are suppliers to brands like The Body Shop, Ethique and All Good Bananas. This year we placed our first volunteer with WIBDI - Gareth Popplestone worked as a Project Management Adviser to help build a new food processing factory, the biggest project the organisation has ever taken on.
Despite the inevitable frustrations of a major building project, the factory opened in August. Gareth says it will take WIBDI's work to the next level. “They can’t compete on price, but they can compete by producing high-quality, niche products.” Seeing their products go from farm (WIBDI has 600 registered small farmers) to table and shop shelf was a highlight - “you don’t often get to see the entire value chain like that, it’s really cool.”
WIBDI is now looking for its second VSA volunteer - a horticulture adviser. Co-founder Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i says “our small organisation was able to continue with other important work while this huge project went ahead. The Management and Board now have enough basic knowledge to undertake a project of this magnitude in the future… we were not even aware of how much we needed him.”